05/03/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – As India continues to go to the polls in what is set to be the biggest democratic election in history, Deva Thakur, vice president of the radical Hindu Mahasabha Party, has called for the forced sterilization of Indian Christians and Muslims. The radical leader also called on Hindus to have more children in order to counter the rise in India’s Christian and Muslim populations.
Speaking to reporters last Saturday, Thakur explained that Christians and Muslims are a threat to Hindus and “have to be forced to undergo sterilization.”
Thakur and the Hindu Mahasabha Party are no strangers to controversy. In the past, they have used religiously divisive language to stir up anti-minority sentiments in their campaign to establish India has a Hindu nation.
In particular, Thakur’s recent sterilization statement speaks directly to a fear held by radical Hindu nationalists that India is being overrun by Christians and Muslims. Speaking to Asia News, John Dayal, General Secretary of the All India Christian Council, explained, “For Thakur, the population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein this in, the [government] will have to impose emergency [measures] and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilization so they can’t increase their numbers.”
“[Hindu radicals] raised a racket when the 2016 census showed the Hindu population under the 80% mark,” Dayal recalled. Although this was a drop less than 1%, it was enough to fuel fears that Muslims and Christians in India would eventually overtake Hindus.
In an election already marred by religiously divisive rhetoric, Thakur’s sterilization statement belies the dark consequences of radical Hindu nationalists coming to power. For many religious minorities in India, it is hoped that the current elections will bring change to the country and bring in a government that respects religious freedom and the rights of minorities.
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